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Tennessee C Cooper Mays: “I’ve thrown up on the ball.”

When Tennessee offensive lineman Jeremiah Crawford just shrugged off his famous puking incident against Alabama last season, it was viewed as a rare, intimidating occurrence. As it turns out, it isn’t all that rare for the Vols.

“There have been multiple games where I’ve thrown up on the way running to the ball, right beside the ball,” Tennessee center Cooper Mays said during the Vol Report. “I’ve thrown up on the ball.”

Such is the life of a 300-pound player in Tennessee uptempo offense. The hard work may lead to a score, but sometimes it’s hard to celebrate or just get off the field.

“You hardly run,” Mays said when asked what he does after the Vols score. “You make your way off the field and you go sit down and you’re so tired that you don’t even want to drink water. I can’t even drink water because it would impede my breathing. That’s how tired I am. You’re so tired that you don’t want water.”

That’s tired. The fatigue, as Mays pointed out, can also lead to an upset stomach and a lost lunch. That happened during practice last year. The ball was the unintended target of Mays illness just before Mays snapped the ball to former Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, who was surprisingly unaffected.

“You know, he didn’t seem to care,” Mays said. “I didn’t seem to care either.”

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Getting SICK? Part of the game. Tennessee C Cooper Mays on losing a lunch.

If Mays played for another team, he could have slowed down, avoided the ball or apologized to his quarterback. However, there was no time for that – even in practice. Tennessee’s linemen are in their stance so quickly that even a twitch could result in a false start when they’re at the line.

“You can’t turn around for nothing because its going to be a five-yard penalty,” Mays said. “Some stuff just happens in the game of football and you’ve got to roll.”

Crawford’s public puking was a topic of conversation after the Vols beat Alabama for the first time since 2006. That, however, is not what Cooper will remember most about that game.

“I love it,” Mays said referring to the 52-49 victory of the Crimson Tide. “If you watch the whole Alabama game back, I don’t think anybody would probably say it from them, but I think I think we imposed our will a lot in that game…You can look at the video of (Crawford) throwing up and nodding at the linemen and they were just sitting over there like they didn’t want any. 

“But you know we love it, we love stuff like that.”

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